This year’s Wicked Leeks Christmas Gift Guide is bigger than ever, and focuses on warm, wonderful, sustainably-made gifts. With a challenging winter ahead, increasing the cosy factor, keeping little ones entertained and enjoying the great outdoors whatever the weather are key, plus some self-care with everything from a good read and green beauty, to sweet treats are all on the list.
1. Made some preserves earlier in the year? Turn a jar into a gift hamper by adding a pat of organic butter, a batch of homemade scones, plus a vintage plate from a second hand shop or buy a beautiful handmade butter spreader from Ambrose Vevers.
3. For lunch on the go, a Black & Blum insulated lunch bag (£24.95) is big enough to carry your lunch box, water bottle, fruit and snacks. Made from recycled PET (things like plastic bottles), its clever roll top construction makes it leakproof and easy to carry or strap to bicycle handlebars.
4. Celebrate land workers and growers worldwide with a new Landworkers’ Alliance tea towel featuring a stunning original design by Rosanna Morris. You could also find a second-hand frame, upcycle it by sanding or chalk painting it, and gift this as a beautiful item for the kitchen wall.
5. Instead of shopping for individual gifts for a family, buy one that can be shared and enjoyed together. Co-curated by food writer, chef and activist Olia Hercules, this special limited edition Ukrainian Christmas hamper (£149.99) supports Ukrainian growers and craftspeople. From foraged porcini mushrooms, meadow herb tea and wildflower honey to plum jam, the beautiful handwoven willow basket from Transcarpathia contains organic and sustainable produce from different regions.
Cosy home comforts
1. Sumptuous Florence Lilly recycled wool blankets (£45)are bound be a welcome winter gift. Made from recycled wool, they come in a variety of colours and checked patterns from brights to muted heather, moss, rust, and neutrals.
2. A vintage style rechargeable mini storm lantern (£30) is handy for both indoors or the garden. Try one from Barebones – they provide up to 20 hours of glowing light from one charge and can use batteries as a useful powercut backup.
3. Love the glow of candles? Avoid paraffin-based ingredients (a derivative of petrol commonly used in candles) and opt for plant waxes instead. Try the black pepper, lemon and vetivert plant wax candle (£12.50) from Flow, hand poured in the UK with ethically-sourced, sustainable ingredients.
4. For gifting the ultimate cosy knitwear, the Nearly New Cashmere Co rescue thousands of discarded 100 per cent cashmere items over the course of a year. Their team in the Yorkshire Dales meticulously recondition and repair each one and they have a wide range of upcycled and vintage cashmere at a fraction of the cost of buying new.
5. A great alternative to hot water bottles, eco-friendly Warmlii cherry stone thermal pillows are natural heat packs handmade in Bristol with 100 per cent certified organic cotton. The cherry stones absorb heat when placed in the oven, on a radiator or in the microwave, and their squishy shape moulds to you.
1. Wonderbags (£62.99) are a brilliant zero energy slow cooker that are perfect for camping or every day cooking. Bring food to the boil on your camp stove, put the pot inside your Wonderbag, head out for the day, then return to a perfectly cooked warming meal.
2. For any beachgoer, swimmer and surfer, changing robes are an easy to pack essential. B Corp Finisterre’s Vean changing robe (£55) is made using super-soft organic cotton towelling.
3. Hand made in Bude, north Devon, Rooted Ocean canvas carry-alls (£35) are wonderfully styled bags, made from dry waxed cotton canvas with soft cotton straps. Perfectly sized for your beach gear or picnics, they pack down to a smaller size when not in use.
4. Who doesn’t love a relaxed, roomy, slouchy hoodie? The Lucy & Yak Bailey Hoodie (£52) has a warm brushed cotton inside and relaxed fit. Choose from a range of bold colours made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and low-impact Oeko-Tex dyes.
5. Coffee round a campfire is an essential outdoor experience, and the Perfect-brew Pour over (£34) is a perfect bit of kit. Made by Stanley, it is rugged and durable, featuring a reusable easy-to-clean filter – no disposable filters required for your zero-waste brew.
1. British-grown hemp is a wonder plant, and its oil is deeply nourishing in beauty products. Made with care in Dartington, Devon, Venus Hemp’s Sandalwood and Cypress Moisturising Face and Body Oil (£17.99) has 99 per cent certified organic ingredients, is vegan friendly and all-natural, with a warm woody scent.
2. Christmas means treats, and chocolate is always top of the list – Harth exclusively uses organically-certified cocoa, sugar, and natural ingredients, working closely with sustainable growers. Handmade in small batches in its workshop on the edge of Bath, the Chocolate Bar Set (£15) or Winter Solstice Hot Chocolate £6.95 are a delicious ethical indulgence.
3. Gift sets are an easy shoppers’ go-to, but often come with unnecessary packaging. B Corp Weleda has a great zero plastic trio of creamy plant-based shower bars: Pamper Your Senses gift set (£12.50) is vegan enriched with organic shea butter and fragranced with natural essential oils, with a biodegradable formula of 100 per cent natural origin. For each gift set purchased, Weleda will plant a tree through UK charity TreeSisters, helping to restore forest ecosystems; to date over 195,000 Weleda trees have been planted.
4. Plastic free hair accessories can be tricky to find so a brass hairpin is a durable stylish alternative. Simple to use, a Roake hair pin (from £12) is handmade by Anupa and her small team of artisan metalsmiths in minimalist designs.
5. Another idea for hair care is a shampoo bar that really works – WeDo makes sulfate, silicone and artificial dye free No Plastic Shampoo Bars packed with nourishing red clay and argan oil. It lasts for up to 80 washes, and their bundle including a bamboo bar holder is a great unisex plastic-free gift.
For nature lovers
1. Flowers Forever (£20) by expert flower artist Bex Partridge is a gorgeous book that guides you through growing, drying and working with flowers that last, to create beautiful floral displays. Buy the book direct for a signed, beautifully wrapped copy tied with a velvet ribbon.
2. Norfolk-based Carrier Company has been making its hardwearing Classic Carrier design for nearly 30 years. Deceptively simple, this incredibly versatile jute square has strong handles at each corner, perfect for carrying cut flowers, allotment produce or winter logs.
3. Did you know Britain was once a rainforest nation? Guy Shrubsole’s The Lost Rainforests of Britain (£19) is a mesmerising chronicle of our forgotten rainforests, and his quest to bring them back. A brilliant and inspiring read for nature lovers.
4. Getting out into the woods is a brilliant family activity. For ideas from den-building to team games and forest craft, a forest school activity card deck is easy to take out with you, giving loads of inspiration for enjoying the outdoors together.
5. Hedgehogs are the UK’s favourite wild animal but they need our help, especially in the colder months; in a warmer winter you may still see hedgehogs out and about in December. Encourage them to make their home with you by leaving out a multipurpose hedgehog house (£43.50); Ark Wildlife has a great one which provides a safe place for them to feed, hibernate or rear hoglets.
6. Support independent small-scale craftmakers and bring nature into your home by perusing the beautiful range at Devon-based Craftmongers. From carefully-selected wildflower seed mixtures, to bird call whistles, linocut nature prints, books, jewellery and more, the shop supports around 50 local and international makers.
For little ones
1. For snuggly story times and to help little ones feel cosy and secure, a rechargeable night light in a cute shape is a great addition to their room – we love this bunny-shaped one (£25.50 for age 3+), made of BPA-free materials.
2. Imaginative play is easy with tactile wooden shapes. Grapat wooden forest elves (£32.75 for age 3+) are sustainably made and can become cherished toys that help re-connect children to the wonderful world of nature.
3. Building blocks offer endless play and if you want to avoid plastic, the BiOBUDDi range (ages 1.5-6) is made from an eco-friendly, sustainable material that upcycles the leftovers from sugar cane plants and are interchangeable with other brands. Ages 1.5-6
4. Horses are a classic toy, but plastic- free ones can be tricky to find. Kidly stocks some great toys such as a wooden stables set (£35) with loads of little extra features like felt saddles, buckets and brooms that make for great play.
5. Also from Kidly, playmats are a brilliant base for not just the toys received at Christmas but incorporating ones you already have. The sustainable cotton Space Adventure mat (£29) comes with a wooden rocket, space shuttle and UFO ready to get new adventure games started.
6. One to do with older kids, a tactile and fun Pottery Starter Kit packed with everything you need to try crafting with air drying clay, will result in some wonderful deco to treasure.
1. Development aid can be hard to trace and lead to fears your money isn’t getting to those most in need – not so when donating to Ripple Effect, which has been providing sustainable, charity gifts for over 20 years by training farmers and families on the ground. From Marvellous Mud to Brilliant Beehives, Top-Notch Trees to Little Donkeys, Ripple Effect gifts help families grow a future free from poverty.
2. The ‘We, the People’ calendar (£14.99) from global indigenous rights charity Survival International is packed with stunning photography of tribal peoples, and captures everyday moments of indigenous communities worldwide. Their pride in their culture, identity, and resistance remains inspirational.